I experienced one of the most beautiful moments in my teaching career yesterday. Our school had a wonderful program and invited veterans to attend. The school live streamed into the classrooms since we could not all watch it in person. After the second grade chorus sang the screen in my classroom went blank. I knew it was coming. I knew the school would not stream one of our assistant principals praying for our veterans. With all of the upset about coaches praying with their teams in the news lately, I knew the school would not stream a prayer into my classroom. I have cried and prayed for our schools, teachers, and coaches with this new upset about prayer in public schools. I have been upset, angered, and disappointed at where our country is headed—away from God. But as my screen went blank and I explained to my students why, I became filled with a peace as I encouraged my students to use the silent screen time as a chance to pray for our veterans. To my amazement, every head in the room bowed, every eye closed, and my students began to pray. My eyes were filled with tears as I also began to pray for our veterans, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and country. I praised God for the chance I was given to witness such a beautiful moment, a silent praying class who wanted to lift up our veterans even when no one was leading them in prayer!
For six years I have been learning how to bleed purple. When I was first hired at Cartersville Elementary I can remember many times being joked with for being a county school kid (I went to Woodland). I had a ton of navy and white clothing but very little purple. One Friday during playoffs two years ago I ran out of long-sleeved purple to wear to work and was playfully shamed for it. Needless to say I was given a ton of purple to wear that year for Christmas. Cartersville has this unique tradition of raising their kids from pre-K to twelfth grade to bleed purple! They are purple Hurricanes for life and as a person who didn’t have that, it was different at first. Then I fell in love with it! There is so much pride within Cartersville Elementary for all things Hurricane! As I began to pack, sort, and get ride of my school stuff I struggled to give away my purple, but I won’t be needing it anymore. It was even harder to pack my classroom and move it out of the building I have called home for six years. Leaving Cartetsville Elementary in May was emotional for me. To walk the halls one last time, with very few people in the building (thank goodness), remembering each classroom (I had 5 of them), student, teacher, and friend was very reflective for me.
But as I have been able to go to my new classroom in my new school I have been able to see all of the ways God has been showing off in my life this year! He provided Kyle with a full time ministry position. Then he sent me a teaching position at the school I wanted to be in. Within hours He sold our house. Now he has sent us our dream home in Calhoun! I still can’t believe it!!! I serve an amazing God who will provide for all our needs and shower us with blessings!
So although I had learned to bleed purple with pride, I am going to learn how to be Jacket Gold at Calhoun Elementary and hopefully it won’t take as long 😜.
Have you ever walked in to a place and felt at home? Somewhere you’ve never been or seen until then and just known that it’s the place your supposed to be? I’ve had it happen a few times in my life and a month ago I had another one of those experiences. I walked into Calhoun Elementary School and immediately felt at home. It was welcoming and almost screamed “You belong here!” The three administrators I met with were inviting and pleasant. I could picture myself working for them and alongside them. I didn’t get the sense that I shouldn’t mention my husband, daughter, or faith. I believe that it was welcomed to mention things about who I am away from school.
So many times teachers are asked to come to work and be just a teacher. When we are at school we are not a wife, mom, Christian, or republican. We are a teacher and only that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t work that way. I am always a Christian. It doesn’t matter where I am. I am praying while I teach. I am shining my light for Jesus everywhere I go and I cannot put it away when I walk into work. AND… the only reason people call me Mrs. Ruff is because I am married. I cannot pretend that my husband doesn’t exist for 8 hours a day 190 days a year. I should be able to talk about him while I am at work and not be sorry for it. To top it off, I finally became a mother last year and I will not avoid any conversation about my sweet girl. I am a Christian first, wife and mother next, and teacher last. I have been able to be all of those things and so much more at Cartersville Elementary School for the past 6 years and I felt that I could be the same way when I stepped inside of Calhoun Elementary School last month. It was so nice to know that other schools allow their teachers to be so much more than just a teacher!
This summer was a great time to relax and rest as a baby has grown inside of me. I don’t know that it would have been good or wise for me to work during my 30-38 week time period. However, I didn’t feel like myself this summer. I didn’t look like me, act like me, respond like me. Maybe it’s the hormones, or laziness from being exhausted, or who knows, but this summer I wasn’t me.
I went back to work last week (teachers seem to go back earlier and earlier each year) and still wasn’t who I remember myself to be. I wasn’t keeping the house as clean, cooking as much, enjoying the social aspect of my job. It’s been weird. But in the past two days everything has changed! The kids have come back to school and I feel like ME! I get to be goofy, and accomplish tasks that matter. I get to learn about new little people and show my slightly crazy side. Being a teacher is apart of who I am. God called me to this career and it has been amazing to be back (even if only for a few days)! I have loved it!
Please do not misunderstand me. I am 39 weeks pregnant and exhausted. My feet and ankles are unrecognizable and hurt. I am thrilled to be taking time off with my sweet little girl soon and will love every second of it. But I am so glad to I have a career that I LOVE and know that I was called to!
Since finding out I was pregnant, and having the doctors confirm my due date (August 6), I have had a few nightmares, but one has reoccurred too many times to count. My water breaking as I’m meeting parents and students at open house. That may seem silly, but it has been my struggle. I have known since week four that at week 39 I would endure open house and the first week of school. For some reason the idea of the first week of school is less scary of a time for my water to break than open house.
Last night was open house…and I survived my nightmare, or I guess my nightmare never occurred in real life! I’m so excited/relieved! As I met my 25 fifth graders and several of my teaching partner’s students as well, I was thrilled at how well they handled my very round belly and the fact that my due date is Saturday. Sure, at the end of the night my feet hurt, my back ached, and all I wanted was to lie down and sleep…but I would consider the night a HUGE success! Especially since my water didn’t break.
Today was the last day of school. This concluded my fifth year teaching and begins my official transition to fifth grade. It was very bittersweet.
I love third grade! The age of the students, the content taught, and the lightbulb that comes on right after Christmas break each year.
I adore the women I work with in third grade! I could not ask for a better group of people to show me how to be an amazing teacher. They have been my friends, work-moms, big sisters, allies, and role models. These are women who lift me up in prayer and surround me with love. I will miss being with them all day everyday.
But today, I must begin to prepare for new friends in fifth grade. I need to start wrapping my head around the maturity of 10 and 11 year olds. The content will be refreshing and make me work harder at preparing to teach-which I find fun.
So, goodbye third grade. You will be missed. Hello, fifth grade! Let’s do this!
School is coming to a close, and for many teachers that means reflecting on their year and looking forward to teaching a new batch of students in two months. Typically I sit around and think about how I could be a better third grade teacher, but this year I am thinking You’re moving me where? You want me to be a fifth grade teacher? You do remember I am having a baby three days after school starts back??? Yep, that’s right…my five years in third grade are ending and I am beginning a new chapter in fifth grade.
To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement. With a move like this comes a HUGE list of things to do before August.
- Sort out my stuff from the school’s third grade stuff
- Pack up my stuff
- Move to new classroom
- Find fifth grade stuff
- Print new standards
- Research new standards
The list could go on forever!!!!
On top of a move to a new grade level, some how my principal thinks I should be a grade level chair person…WHAT?!?
We have spoken. I have voiced my concerns. He says he still thinks that he has made the best decision for his school…so here I go…off to 5th grade…as a grade level chair.
The only positive to this entire transition is that my teaching partner (we have been together 4 years now) is also headed to fifth grade with me. We are moving as a unit and I LOVE that!!!
So my life is becoming more interesting as Hannah’s arrival is approaching…but I am excited to still have a job (doing what I love), be remaining with my teaching partner (whom I love), and be trying new things!!!